tv Jansing and Co. MSNBC January 30, 2013 7:00am-8:00am PST
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geico. just click away with our free mobile app. good morning, i'm chris jan sing, we're expecting high drama as the battle over gun control moves to capitol hill. in moments a senate committee will hear testimony from witnesses including very different and very polarizing figures. wayne lapierre, chief executive officer of the nra and mark kelly, married to former congresswoman gabby giffords and leading the fight for gun control. we learned that gabby giffords will testify. i want to bring in managing editor of the grio. gabby dif fords tweeted, heading to senate for hearing on gun violence, thanks to senator
leahy and chuck grassley for starting this conversation. i'm wondering if you think the voice of gabby gifford, she has an emotional story and she knows these folks. how influential can she be in this? >> she has tremendous moral authority on this issue as did the families from newtown. i think having people like her being a part of this conversation, it only adds to the pressure on republicans to give something. i think the only outcome that seems impossible is that absolutely nothing would be done. because you have a con fluance of events. you add the outrage of it happening to children, so i can't imagine that nothing would be done. >> we see wayne lapierre in that group of people. i think as i was giving this some thought this morning, because we've talked so much about why nothing changed after gabby giffords was shot. she sadly could not be a voice in the immediate aftermath but
her husband helped to start americans for responsible solutions and she's out there speaking as well. it does seem to be a change in the landscape, doesn't it, nick? >> having the personal voice and victim of gun violence makes a huge difference. we saw that with brady in the '80s so it does make a difference. on the other hand, i don't want to shock viewers back home. but the hearings are this elaborate ka bookie where everyone knows what they are going to say and what to expect when they get there. wayne lapierre released his testimony 24 hours in advance. >> let's be honest about what he's going to say. background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. >> their argument is the law-abiding gun owner isn't the problem and any efforts to regulate guns only hurt the people who follow the law and we'll hear more of that today. i think you made an important point. there's going to be pressure to do something, even on
republicans who are pro-gun and pro second amendment. it's hard to walk away from newtown and say nothing will change. >> it is interesting to look at the makeup of the committee and you have dianne feinstein and chuck schumer on one side. these are two senators on the forefront of this issue, both sprong supporters of the ban of the assault weapon. and john cornyn and ted cruz, he has a petition on the website that says washington politicians shouldn't be taking advantage of the recent tragedy to push an aggressive gun control agenda, trying to kind of turn it on everyone. i guess to nick's point, joanne, do you think that this is really more for show or can a hearing like this mean anything? >> this is all legs live theater. we are in the age of viral video. if somebody were to have an exchange that was viral, that could get out there. the other issue is the balance
of positiwer has changed. it used to be the nra was the big voice and no one had equivalent power and you have things like michael bloomberg saying i will spend money, the same money the nra is spending. the pressure is different and i think the democrats and republicans who sort of have been in the nra camp are feeling pressure they never felt before. the nra doesn't have the power they used to. by the way, they didn't do that well. the candidates they supported during the election, their margin wasn't very good. >> and reading lapierre's comments, they weren't necessarily as incendiary when he really defended the rights of people -- the message is the same but the way he's saying is a little more subdued. >> it goes to our point here, they are under pressure. they are at attack with president obama with the
security of his daughters back fired horribly. the audience is the hard core ar-15 owner, it's those in the middle that support gun rights but support gun safety and oppose crime. i think again, there is some pressure here on the nra to put more of a foot forward that can appeal to people beyond their core membership. >> let me bring in kentucky congressman john yarmouth. james baker and john dingell have an article in the paper, it talks how they both grew up hunting and loving guns but they are united in the outrage over newtown. common sense should prevail. we must get away from a mind set that has owners of firearms worried that they are going to take our guns away. the second amendment guarantees that won't happen. it seems like everyone from dianne feinstein to mark kelly, the mother of christina green,
the young victim in tucson, we don't want to take your guns away. why is the nra adamant about there being no new laws? >> the nra primarily wants to sell guns. they represent gun manufacturers as well as citizens and that was not in wayne lapierre's statement. they like this conflict and want to create the fear that the government is going to come after guns because it sells more guns and it has across the country. the other thing is, they are stri dentally aposed to any restriction, they keep reporting this slippery slope argument. if there were any validity, we would have confiscated every gun because we've been working this for many years and the brady bill would have been a first step. that's a silly argument. people like mitch mcconnell are stoking it. in my state he put out an e-mail that was titled, they are coming to get your guns. that's how brazen some are them
are. >> let me ask you about the specifics because we were talking about wayne lapierre's statement which he released yesterday. one of the things he said, no on universal background checks. i'm wondering what you feel the mood on the hill is right now and whether you think something like that is going to get passed? >> i think there's a good chance the background checks will get passed. i think even the staunchest gun supporters are looking for something they can support. because even if my state, the louisville paper published a statewide poll, 75% of the people in kentucky support universal background checks and 65% want guns registered by the state, which astounded me. so the -- everybody, every senator and congressman and woman knows that the public is for some action. i think the background check is the easiest thing to accept. >> is the real problem when you
look in individual congressional districts that maybe in a conservative congressional district, those numbers are flipped? >> oh, well, absolutely. and obviously there's not going to be a unanimous vote for this. it's not going to be easy. but again, i think the odds are there are enough people who want to vote for some kind of action in response to newtown. i hope gabby -- i just can't wait to see her. she's a classmate of mine and we were talking on the floor two days before she was shot, i hope she actually calls for citizens to reach out to their members as part of this effort. because one thing we've seen flipped in this current environment is the passion for some action is higher than the passion to oppose gun measures. that's a first. and politicians have always been afraid of the one issue voter on the gun rights side and not afraid of the passion of the gun restriction side. >> do you agree with what we were just talking about earlier
and joanne made this point that if social media has changed the game in many ways. these hearings maybe a lot of political theater. but if an emotional sound bite comes out from gabby gifford or whatever it is that sort of rises to the level that it goes viral or makes all of the headlines or newscast, that it can make a difference? >> i don't think there's any question about it. social media has revolutionized political communication -- >> let me interrupt you for just a second. i don't know if you have a monitor. there is your former colleague gabby giffords who looks fantastic and such an inspiration to so many people coming in now with her husband, mark kelly. continue, congressman. >> i forgot where we were. >> we were talking about whether or not hearings can make a difference, particularly because of the influence of social media and the sound bites that come out of it? >> it's actually as totally revolutionized political
communication. we saw it both in the success of the obama campaign in the fund raising arena and seen it in the ability of people to galvanize around a particular issue. that's what's so important about all of these things, the twitter and facebook. we use it extensively and it's a huge force. >> congressman yarmuth, thanks so much for taking the time. >> thank you, chris. >> as we watch gabby giffords continuing to come in. there is this level of emotion here. and really newtown took it to a level i don't think we've seen before. the parents have a piece in the "washington post," our country needs a new dialogue, one that doesn't follow the tired script of political squabbling. any improvement of our laws should not be decried as an attempt to take away rights. even those who lost the most are
suggesting no such thing. >> do we need to see gabby giffords coming in and reminder of these 20 kids? >> apparently we do. there is a strong gun lobby and they oppose these things strongly. >> are they as strong as they were? >> i think so. there's been a lot of talk the nra is waining, i think they are one of the single grass roots lobbiest forces in the country. >> they are good at what they do, yes? >> mobilize people in districts that are increasingly gerrymandered really allows them to have an impact and stop things from happening. the most important power in washington is not making things happening but stopping things from happening. >> because of in the past they had been so effective and everyone fears them, i'm not sure their actual track record
in the last election shows they have the power they used to but they are also under pressure from the right. there's gun owners of america, extreme groups and it's pushing them so far right, the rhetoric has gone we want to protect people who have self-defense, we want to protect against a tie ran cal government. >> we need to take the statements now, you see the chairman of the committee, patrick leahy and among those seated at the table, gabby giffords and wayne lapierre. let's listen for a bit. >> gabby giffords is going to give a brief message. and captain kelly, thank you for your help in bringing your wife here. miss giffords.
>> okay. thank you for inviting me here today. this is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for democrats and republicans. speaking is difficult but i need to say something important. violence is a big problem. too many children are dying. too many children. we must do something.
it will be hard but the time is now. you must act. be bold, be courageous. americans are counting on you. thank you. >> captain kelly, you want to help miss giffords out and i'll give you a few moments and -- >> gabby giffords with words that cannot fail to move you as she struggles with speech. the shooting in tucson, she was
shot at point blank range and worth saying that the suspect jared loughner, charged with so many counts of murder, went into a gun shop and was able to buy a glock in spite of the fact there was a pretty well documented history of mental illness and went into a big store and buy ammunition and that is part of the conversation here. your thoughts. >> you know, if she wasn't the face of gun violence before, i think even in that brief -- minute and a half, she is now the face of gun violence in america. heartbreaking because she's carrying with her the wounds. you can see her actually speaking hauntingly, having a hard time getting her message across, walking slowly across the floor. it's a powerful movement. >> too many children are dying, we must do something. it will be hard but the time is now. >> but for people who are absolutist on the idea of
background checks or high capacity magazines, the only reason someone was able to disarm the shooter that attacked her was because he had to reload. when you hear her speaking, she looks wonderful but you can hear the evidence of what happened to her in every word she's struggling to get out. i don't know how anyone could hear her or see her and not walk away from an absolutist position. you wouldn't want to prevent that from happening to someone? i don't understand it. >> let's listen into the hearing once more. >> too important for that. we should all be here as americans, every american ab whos the recent tragedy. elementary school in connecticut, movie theater in colorado, sacred place of worship in wisconsin and in front of a shopping mall in arizona. americans are looking to us for solutions and for action. this committee is a focal point for that process. i've introduced a measure to
provide law enforcement agencies with stronger tools against illegal gun trafficking. others have proposed restrictions of military style weapons and the size of ammunition clips. others that propose modifications to the background check systems to keep guns out of the wrong hands are not unnecessarily burdening law-abiding citizens. i'm a lifelong vermonter. i know guns to owners in vermont, they follow the law. they conduct background checks to block conveyance to guns to whose who should not have them and they wonder why others do not follow the same protective rules. i agree with these responsible business owners. if we could all agree that criminals and those add jude indicated as mentally ill should
not buy firearms, why should we not plug the loopholes in the law allowing to buy guns without background checks. it's a simple matter of common sense. if we agree the background check system is worth while, shouldn't we try to use it so it could be more effective? what responsible gun owner objects to improving the background check system? when i bought firearms in vermont, i go through the background check. i would expect everybody else to. now at the outset of this hearing, i note that the second amendment is secure and women remain secure and protected. in two recent cases the supreme court has confirmed that the second amendment, like the other aspects of our bill of rights, secures a fundamental individual right. americans have the right to self-defense. as the court has said to have guns in their homes to protect
the families. no one can take away those rights or the guns. second amendment rights are the foundation in which our discussion rests. they are not at risk. but what is at risk are lives, lives are at risk when responsible people fail to stand up for laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who use them to commit murder especially mass murders. i ask we focus our discussion on additional statutory measures to better protect our children and all americans. i say this as a parent and as a grandparent. ours is a free society, an open society, we come together today to learn how to become a safer and more secure society. no one begrudges the government assistance provided to victims of mass tragedies made possible
by the law we passed after the bombing in oklahoma city. the bill introduced last week against gun trafficking was similarly proved helpful and i believe it will become an accepted part of the crime control framework. it too is common sense reform. it fills a hole in our law enforcement arsenal. so that purchasers that acquire weapons for criminals could be prosecuted more effectively. last thursday the president nominated the u.s. attorney from minnesota and we have two from his state on this committee. no direct the bureau of alcohol and firearms and explosives and trust all senators will cooperate in a prompt hearing and action on that nomination, will join good faith the strength in our law enforcement efforts against gun violence and to protect public safety.
as a responsible government and someone who cherishes all of our constitutional rights, as a senator who is sworn oath to uphold those rights, and as father and grandfather and former prosecutor who has seen the results of gun violence firsthand in graphic detail, i undertake these efforts and hope this hearing can build consensus around common sense solutions. previous measures to close the gun show loophole or improve the background check system have been bipartisan. i hope in this new congress, further improvements will also become bipartisan. we can act together as americans. now, i've said what kind of measures i can support. i'll ask other senators to come forward and do as well. i'll ask our witnesses what
legislative proposals they support to make america safer and i thank everybody here for joining in today's discussion. senator grassley. >> mr. chairman and thank you as well for this hearing and thanks to everybody who's here and particularly our witnesses. what happened at newtown shocks our nation. we will never forget where we were or how we reacted when we learned that 20 very young children or six adults were killed that day or if we forgot about that specific instance, you don't forget about all of the tragedies that have happened recently. as a grandfather and great grandfather i cannot imagine how anyone would commit an evil act like that. i cannot ever begin to know what it would be like to be a relative of one of those slain children. we pray for the families who continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. we pay for -- pray for all
victims of violence and guns, by guns and otherwise. clearly violent crimes and those who commit them are a plague on our society. one that has been with us for far too long. we have looked at these issues before but i welcome this renewed discussion. i think the need for the judiciary committee to hold hearings after newtown is very clear. all over america people were apalmed by what happened to those vulnerable and precious victims. we all want to exam sensible actions that could reduce the likelihood of future crimes. we've extended a special welcome to former congresswoman giffords. she was doing what a con shent shus representative should do and what i hope all of us do, taking the polls of constituents
to represent them at congress. she was representing the people of her congressional district when a gunman open fired. the shooting was a horrible tragedy. but her determination to overcome her injuries and progress through rehabilitation and continued contribution to society are an inspiration or at least should be an inspiration to all of us. i thank her for being here today and with her husband, captain kelly. although newtown and tucson are terrible tragedies, the deaths in newtown should not be used to put forward every gun control major that's been floating around for years because the problem is greater than just guns alone. i think the chairman's speech indicates that as well. any serious discussion of the causes of gun violence must include a complex reexamination of mental health as it relates to mass shootings, society as a whole has changed as well.
and that statement is made, it's difficult for -- i think you see a lot of civility in american society has grown considerably in the last couple of decades. you see it here -- in the congress as well when we are partisan and don't treat each other with respect we ought to. there are too many video games that celebrate the mass killing of innocent people and games that attempt at at self-regulation finds their way into the hands of children. one video game released november of 2009, which is sold over 22 million copies in the u.s. and u.k., was for foreign distribution because the opening level depicted shooting innocent civilians in an airport security line. this game was specifically cited in a manifesto of the norway mass shooter as quote, part of
my training simulation, end of quote, for carrying out his attacks. where is the artistic value of shooting innocent victims? i share vice president biden's disbelief of manufactured denial that these games have no effect on real world violence. above all, we should not rush to pass legislation that will not reduce mass killings, banning guns based on their appearance does not make sense. the 1994 assault weapon ban did not stop columbine. the justice department found the ban ineffective. scholars have indicated that refining or expanding such legislation will not cut gun violence. i also question the limitation on magazine capacities. those can be circumvented by carrying multiple guns as many killers have done. we hear that no one needs to carry larger magazines than those that hunters use to shoot deers.
but an attacking criminal unlike a deer shoots back. i do think we may be able to work together to prevent purchasers from trafficking in guns. the oversight work i conducted on illegal operation fast and furious shows there are some gaps in this area of law that should be closed. besides legislative proposals the president recently took 23 executive actions on guns. and without knowing exactly how they are worded, we don't -- can't find fault with them. and probably should not find fault with a lot of his actions. despite this administration's claim to be the most transparent in history, the text of these actions is still not posted on the white house website, only very brief statements about what they do. but all of those executive actions could have been issued four years ago or after the tucson shooting or after aurora.
why only now? one order directs a center for disease control to research causes of gun violence. contrary to what you may have heard, congress has never prohibited cdc from researching gun violence. rather, congress prevented federal research to quote, advocate or promote gun control, which some government researchers have been doing under t under the gooiz of taxpayer supported -- the president could not legally have directed cdc to conduct that research. i was taken aback when the president cited the declaration of independence in the constitution as sources of government power to restrict gun ownership rights. the constitution in fact creates a limited federal government. it separates powers among branches of the federal government and preserves state power against federal power. the framers believe that these structures would adequately control the government so as to protect individual liberty.
the american people disagreed. they feared the constitution gave the federal government so much power it could be tier ran cal. each was adopted to further limit and protect individual rights. president obama's remarks turned the constitution on its head. the right to worship free andly safely, that was denied to sikhs in oak creek wisconsin, that right was denied in clak mass oregon and in aurora colorado, our fundamental rights denied to students at virginia tech and high school students in columbine and elementary students in newtown. end of quote. this is not so. except for its prohibition on slavery, the constitution limits only actions of government, not
individuals. so for instance, the right to peacefully assemble protects individual rights to organize and protest and seek government action. that right is trivialized as protecting watching movies and shopping. in fact, just the opposite, they were included in the bill of rights because throughout history governments have wanted to shut up those who would criticize government to suppress unpopular religions or disarm people. the president cited constitutional protections of individuals rights as a basis for expanding federal power over the lives of private individuals. this is the same president who exceeded his power under the constitution to appoint recess appointments. so no wonder millions of american fear that the president might take executive action and congress may enact legislation that could lead to tyrannical
federal government, i cannot accept the claim that there will be politicians and special interests warning of all out assault on liberty. not because that's true but because they want to jen up fear. this leaves many citizens to believe their individual rights will be violated and that extends well beyond the second amendment. it should be a matter of deep concern to all of us. the constitution for 225 years established a government that is a servient to the people not the master. as we consider and debate legislation arising from these tragedies, i hope we will proceed with proper understanding of the relationship that the constitution establishes between government power and individual liberty and i hope we will pass those bills that would actually be effective in reducing gun violence. i welcome the witnesses and look forward to this hearing. thank you very much. >> thank you.
>> i'd ask that captain mark kelly, james johnson and gail trotter step forward and stand behind your chairs for a moment as i swear in the panel one time. please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear the testimony you'll give in this matter will be the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? the record shows that all five witnesses have been sworn in. please take your seats. i'm going to suggest that we call on each witness and try to keep to fairly strict time and i'll call on each one to give their testimony and then we'll open it up to questions in the usual way, alternating on both
sides. our first witness is mark kelly. he's -- our first witness is mark can kelly, retired astronaut and co-founded americans for potential solutions. thsz an advocacy that promotes to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership, with his wife, former congresswoman gabrielle giffords. please go ahead, sir. >> thank you chairman leahy and ranking member grassry for inviting me today. i look forward to an instructive dialogue with your committeeant want to take the opportunity to congratulate gabby's friend jeff lake on new role as arizona's junior senator. as you know, our family has been immeasurableably affected by gun violence. gabby's gift for speech is a
distant memory. she struggles to walk and partially blind. a year ago she left the job she loved, serving the people of arizona. but in the past two years, we have watched gabby's determination and spirit and intel lekt conquer her disabilities. we're speaking to you today as americans. we're a lot like many fellow citizens following this debate about gun violence. gabby was a republican long before she was a democrat. we're both gun owners and take that right and the responsibilities that come with it very seriously. we watch with horror when the news breaks to yet another tragic shooting. after 20 kids and six of their teachers were gunned down in their classrooms at sandy hook elementary, we said this time must be different. something needs to be done.
we're simply two reasonable americans who have said enough. on january 8th of 2011, a young man walked up to gabby at her constituent event in tucson, levelled his gun and shot her through the head. he then turned down the line and continued firing. in 15 seconds, he emptied his magazine. it contained 33 bullets and there were 33 wounds. as a shooter attempted to reload, he fumbled. a woman grabbed the next magazine and others restrained him. gabby was the first victim. christina taylor green, 9 years old, born on 9/11 of 2001, was shot with the 13th bullet or after and others followed. the killer in the tucson shooting suffered from severe mental illness. even after being deemed
unqualified for service in the army and expulsion from college, he was never reported to mental health authorities. on november 30th of 2010 he walked into a sporting good store and passed a background check and walked out with a semiautomatic hand gun. he had never been legally add jude indicated as mentally ill. even if he had, arizona at the time had over 121,000 records of disqualifying mental illness that it had not submitted into the system. looking back, we can't say with certainty only if we had done this, this would have never happened. there isn't just one thing that would have prevented the tucson shooting from being written into the history books. gabby is one of roughly 100,000 victims of gun violence in america each and every year. behind every victim lays a
matrix of failure and inadequacy in our families and communities and values and in our society's approach to poverty, violence and mental illness. and yes, also in our politics and in our gun laws. one of our messages is simple, the breath and complexity of gun violence is great, but it is not an excuse for inaction. there's another side to our story. gabby is a gun owner and i'm a gun owner. we have our firearms for the same reasons that millions of americans just like us have guns to defend ourselves and defend our families and for hunting and for target shooting. we believe wholly and completely in the second amendment and it
for the gun rights that our founding fathers have conferred upon us. we have ideas on how we can take responsibility. first, fix gun background checks. the holes in our laws make a mockery of the background check system. congress should close the private sales loophole and get dangerous people entered into that statement. second, remove the limitations on collecting data and conducting scientist research own gun violence. enact a tough federal gun trafficking statute. this is really important. and finally, let's have a careful and civil conversation about the lethality of firearms we permit to be legally bought and sold in this country. gabby and i are pro gun ownership and anti-gun violence.
we believe in this debate, congress should look not towards special interests and ideology, which push us apart, but towards compromise, which brings us together. we believe whether you call yourself pro gun or anti-gun violence or both, that you can work together to pass laws that save lives. >> thank you. >> next witness david koppel the research director for the institute and associate policy analyst and professor of advance constitutional law, denver university's strum college of law. did i get that correct? thank you. go ahead, please. >> thank you chairman leahy and senator grassley. to continue the themes that
captain kelly so eloquently spoken about, gun rights and gun control don't have to be culture war enemies. properly conceived they can work together and reinforce each other. it's important to recognize that the second amendment is not absolute any more than the first amendment is. it has an absolute core that can't be violated under any circumstances but that doesn't prohibit all firearms controls. >> this won't come out of your time. all of the statements will be put in record in full so we can keep close -- >> thank you. >> we're going to continue to listen in. but a call to action for sure, captain mark kelly, a very vivid reminder of the many victims of gun violence. you don't have to be shot to be a victim. he was recently married to a very vibrant and verbally gifted congresswoman. and as he explained it, she is partially blind and struggles to walk.
as we saw in a very emotional brief statement, she still struggles to speak more than two years after she was shot in the head at point blank range. to the point of the call for action, yesterday harry reid, whose mission on this is politically fraut for him said he is going to make it his business to get it to the floor. what gets done here, nick? >> i think you're seeing in the hearing already, the focus on the issue of the federal background check system. it is full of holes and not well funded. there have been efforts to deleet it and compromise it on purpose. what we're going to see is not much movement on assault weapons or on banning certain types of weapons. we will see a push on the walk ground check system, improving it and linking it up with the mentally ill issue, trying to find ways to register and keep guns out of the hands of people that at least on the face of it, everybody agrees shouldn't have
them. >> we shouldn't dismiss this decision that they are going to really look into what's behind gun violence because these get the publicity and as well they should. there were 20 small coffins in newtown. having said that in urban areas every day, go to chicago and you'll see what gun violence does and not everybody is killed with magazine clips. in fact, the vast majority of people are not killed by semiautomatic weapons. so there does need to be a larger discussion with the facts of what really does need to be dubbed what's effective and ineffective. >> one of the things the nra has done is prevent the federal government from doing the studies and research on gun violence. they made it so the cdc and other agencies can't study it. directly to your point, while we were listening to hearings, nbc news put out a story about a
young girl, pendleton, a 15-year-old girl from chicago, african-american, who actually just performed in the inauguration with the marching band. she went to an elite prep school just killed on tuesday, not killed in a mass shooting, nothing as dramatic as newtown. 15 years old, honors student, just had the experience of a lifetime and now dead. stray bullet standing with friends at the bus stop in a nice area of chicago. these are the type of gun deaths we're seeing every day, this drip, drip, drip of murders and deaths happening in cities all over the country. chicago has strong gun laws but there are obviously loopholes because we're seeing so many gun deaths in the inner city. meaning i can't pass a background check so i get some one else to buy for me or i buy an illegal gun and i never report it being lost or doesn't wind up in the system and winds up in the street.
>> joanne and nick, we'll have to take a break but they are going to stay with us as we watch this hearing about gun violence. we'll take a break and be back right after this. ! how does this thing work? oh, i like it! [ garth ] sven's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! woo-hoo!!! so that's ten security gators, right? put them on my spark card! why settle for less? testing hot tar... great businesses deserve great rewards! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? here's your invoice.
with stayfree ultra thins. flexible layers move with your body while thermocontrol wicks moisture away. keep moving. stayfree. this morning there is new optimism for immigration reform. senator chuck schumer is praising republicans john mccain and marco rubio for standing up to the right. >> i have been really impressed with their desire to meet us in the middle, same with bob menendez and dick durbin on the other side, but particularly our republican colleagues. they are getting a lot of flak. >> yesterday the president traveled to las vegas to urge lawmakers to pass a comprehensive immigration bill developed by the bipartisan senate panel.
>> the time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform. the time is now. we have to lal out a path, includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning english, and then going to the back of the line behind all of the folks who are trying to come here legally. that's only fair. >> let's bring in republican strategist david winston, senior adviser to speaker boehner and angela wri and former executive director and general counsel to the congressional black caucus. good morning. >> marco rubio has been taking the lead on this for republicans trying to win over, for example, conservative talk show hosts. can he provide some political cover for other conservatives? what's his role in all of this? >> clearly for obvious reasons he has standing on the issue that others don't have. he's obviously taken the lead in terms trying to drive this. there are two fundamental elements that you saw the
president address that the republicans have been concerned about. one is the idea that the those who asked to follow the process end up at the end of the line as opposed to beginning of the line. the president was clearly trying to address that concern the republicans have. the other is great, we pass a immigration policy but if we don't have a border to enforce it, what's the point? how do we have a border that allows us to actually have an immigration policy. it sounds like what's occurring in the senate and working with the white house and house of representatives that people are beginning to realize there's an opportunity here and we can potentially move forward but it's going to require some working together and it sounds like at least from what the president was saying there, there's an attempt there on his part to try to work with republicans. >> it did look like enforcement triggers as part of this whole package could be part of the sticking point. where do you see this issue right now? >> sure, well, one thing for sure is the president was very clear on two strong points. one is that it's time for us to
implement a common sense plan for immigration reform and also the fact it's time to hold both sides accountable, whether they are the employers or potential employees. immigrants who are coming over to the country have to participate in the process in the same way that is fair and just. and likewise employers have to be accountable for employing individuals who are not legal immigrants. so he was very clear and i think it's a great path forward, including the bipartisan coalition of the senators who put forth a strong plan as well. >> much in the way of what we were seeing now on capitol hill where there's now in the gun debate the big concern is there's a slippery slope. there's this a word, which is amnesty. how do the people on both sides who want to get this done get around that? >> well, now, and you point to exactly the difficulty, at least on the republican side and heard this many times about when reagan passed the bill back in
1986 that it turned into an amnesty bill. i think that gets to where the republican concern is and we've begun to hear sounds from democrats that they are willing to address this in a significant way. that is, look, if we're going to establish a real immigration policy which doesn't turn into amnesty but let's us have an immigration policy we need to deal with the border. some of the sounds of what i'm hearing from the democratic side seem that they are willing to address that and that would move things forward. >> what the white house doing in all of this? the president has been clearly having success and selling it to the american people and you have marco rubio selling it to talk show hosts. it seems the voters have a lot of influence suddenly again. >> and they should have a lot of influence. you see the fact that folks have wanted a common sense plan for some time. the president and other elected officials have demonstrated that we're a nation of immigrants, whether we're here by choice or
some of us weren't here by choice. at the end of the day there is a path forward. i think amnesty is a red herring at this point. no one -- it's a way to distract from what matters here and that is to ensure that people who need to get to the states can and they can do it in a fair way. so i think the white house again, very clear message yesterday. there's a clear path forward, whether it's shoring up the borders, the board -- the security has been tight since the president was elected. shoring up employment ver verification and to get into the system in a right way. >> thanks to both of you. we'll be right back. geico's emee assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah? yeah i got it right here. someone help me!!! i have a flat tire!!!